DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME (2016)

One hundred sixty-three miles south of the Arctic Circle, film preservationists stumbled upon one of the greatest treasures in film history: a buried cache of 533 reels of nitrate film, consisting of 372 titles, a good deal of it still viewable thanks to its being encased in permafrost. The location, a swimming pool under a one-time hockey rink, had been used to dispose of the films shown in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, between 1903 and 1929. Since Dawson was often the last stop for distribution, the films were never returned. Instead, they were stored in the basement of an abandoned library until 1929—when they were dumped into a former swimming pool that served as a landfill—where they remained inadvertently preserved in permafrost for 49 years. Their discovery in 1978 led to a massive recovery project. Documentarian Bill Morrison, known for his elegiac films about early cinema, has created a documentary combining contemporary footage about the discovery, still photos from Dawson City’s history and selections from the 500,000 feet of film deemed usable. Among them are early work by the likes of Lionel Barrymore, Lon Chaney, Pearl White, Douglas Fairbanks and Harold Lloyd, newsreel footage dating from 1917 to 1921 and, perhaps most surprising, footage of the 1919 World Series, in which gamblers bribed the Chicago White Sox to throw the games to the Cincinnati Reds. (d. Bill Morrison, 120m, DCP)

In attendance: ANNE MORRA, BILL MORRISON